I remember riding my bike every where as kid. Not only was it fun, but it expanded my range of adventure. I could explore a new fishing hole I heard about. Get to a friends house sooner, so we had more time to look for snakes and frogs down at the creek. No matter where I pedaled, there was at least one killer hill between me and my destination.
At the end of my street was one steep and long hill that I remember fondly. I would challenge myself every time I went up to see how far I could get before I ran out of steam and had to walk my bike. I would also think how great it was going to be going down that same hill later. The wind whipping my face, rushing in my ears. The sound intensifying as I pedaled my WWII flying machine faster and faster.
As I grew and continued to ride, eventually I was able to go up any slope without stopping. A lesson here might be for every challenge there is a reward. Or going up hill you might eventually run out of energy and stall.
Seeing the water heater pictured here reminded me of my up hill challenge. The plumber who installed this unit in a thoughtful and time consuming act decided to forego convention.
Note the white PVC pipe angling upwards from the top of the unit like a black board pointer. That pipe is connected to the water heaters TPR valve. What's a TPR valve? It's a temperature pressure relief device meant to prevent your water heater from becoming a bomb if the water temperature controller fails.
Way back when, before the invention of TPR valves, houses were all to regularly leveled by water heater explosions. Even today water heater explosions still occur, fortunately, due to the TPR valve, it is a very rare occurrence most often due to negligence.
When an over pressurization of the water heater occurs, the valve opens releasing super heater water. Since the water is under pressure it can not boil. When that super heated water is released into the air, it immediately vaporizes to steam. The TPR valve is required to have a pipe extension to direct any steam and water to the floor.
The plumbing codes are fairly specific on this pipe extension. The pipe can not be PVC plastic. It can not be reduced in diameter or have any restrictions.
Oh yes, it can not run up hill.
As I mentioned, the plumber was thoughtful. The end of the pipe was sent through the side of the wall to terminate outside. In this way, the homeowner was told by the plumber (I was given this story first hand) if the valve opens, the water will go outside and not all over the floor.
Here's the end of the pipe next to the outside hose spigot and water meter sensor. Can any one see a potential problem here?
An up hill challenge can build character, but ignoring the rules or worse making your own, can get someone hurt.
The following video shows just how destructive a water heater can be.